Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: spleen | removal | splenectomy | low | platelet | count

Is Spleen Removal Warranted?

Thursday, 05 April 2012 04:53 PM

Question: My doctors say I have a low platelet count and they want to remove my spleen to correct this condition. Is this necessary and what are the drawbacks?

Dr. Hibberd's answer:
A splenectomy is the surgical procedure where the spleen is removed. The spleen plays a part in maintaining a healthy immune system and cleans the blood of foreign matter. It helps eliminate the platelets that have antibodies bound to them. Theoretically, if the spleen is removed, the platelets will stay in the bloodstream. Splenectomies have been used to treat low counts for a condition called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. The published success rates are about 60 percent for long term remission, although the measurement criteria for success and the definition of remission are not standardized in published scientific studies. Splenectomized patients are at an increased risk for infections. It is important for patients who have had a splenectomy to discuss a treatment plan with their doctors in case they develop a fever.
There are two types of splenectomies, laproscopic and open. The laproscopic splenectomy is becoming more popular since the healing time is reduced and it has the same rate of success as the open spelenctomy. About ten percent of the population develops an accessory (extra) spleen. Occasionally a second surgery is required if a patient develops one of these.

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Spleen removal, or splenectomy, is used to treat a low blood platelet count.
Thursday, 05 April 2012 04:53 PM
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